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I need to know how to write a Kenyan accent for a short story?

One of the prominent characters from my short story has a kenyan accent and I want to represent it accurately. Being from Kenya is a large part of his identity so it is important that this is done tactfully. Not every word he says has to be 'full-on kenya' but perhaps one or two words which people use all the time could be represented phonetically to show he is from Kenya (or africa in general). Do any native kenyans who speak english have any idea what words I can represent phonetically and how?

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ieado9euaa profile image
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9dd2ac44728d profile image

People in Kenya have a variety of accents, depending on their origins and the language they speak at home. If I were trying to convey a Kenyan character, I would use words like "shawri", "bwana" and "safari". Shawri means "business" -- not my shauri, that's your shauri, etc.

Bwana is a word for addressing a man and he could perhaps do this to make a statement. When people take any journey they go on safari. But all this is terribly contrived. Perhaps he could propose a toast and say "karibu" (to which the reply is "asante" -- thank you). Many of us toast people in our own language. One word which doesn't have an equivalent in English is "pole" -- an expression of regret -- plural "poleni". That could be introduced unobtrusively. transparent.com/personal/transpare...

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aa11271585 profile image

im a kenyan girl who speaks both english and swahili(native kenyan language) fluently. maybe if u gave a list of words you'd like i could help you better.